Mercedes to make display changes after Hamilton VSC setback
Mercedes has confirmed that it will make changes to Lewis Hamilton’s dash layout after the Formula 1 champion lost time to teammate Valtteri Bottas while running behind the Virtual Safety Car in Baku.
Hamilton made clear immediately after the race that he would be requesting changes, but didn’t go into detail on why they might be necessary.
However, in a team video released on the Wednesday after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, chief strategist James Vowles explained that Hamilton “lost sight” of the delta time that he should be sticking to because the team had asked him to make switch changes on the steering wheel that were intended to give him more performance for the restart.
He also lost out because he was in a braking area, rather than a straight where he could simply accelerate away, when the period ended.
“During the VSC at the end of the race, you would’ve seen Lewis lose a couple of seconds of race time relative to Valtteri, which could’ve been crucial to the win,” said Vowles.
“When the VSC ends, the driver gets a notification on his screen on his dash and that’s something that we have the ability to control what’s displayed and what’s not.
“We asked Lewis to do a number of switch changes, which is normal to put the car into a more performant mode. But with every change he lost sight of what that delta time was.
“The other factor that was contributing here was that if you are in a straight line, for example Turn 16, long straight, and the VSC ends all you have to do is manage the throttle and get on throttle and go straight.
“But Lewis wasn’t. He was in a braking zone for a VSC, one of the most difficult situations because now it is very difficult to modulate where you are on the delta time and get ready for the VSC restart.
“A combination of all of that put together means that Lewis didn’t make a mistake, it was where he was on track and a number of switch changes that just masked where he was on the exact delta time and he lost around two seconds.”
Vowles says that changes will be in place for the next race: “We, from our side, can do some more work to make that certainly better in terms of a dash display going forward into Barcelona and we will do.
“The luck of the draw as to where you are in the VSC, unfortunately that will always be the same way.”
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